Anthraquinone, also called anthracenedione or dioxoanthracene, is an aromatic organic compound with formula C
. Isomers include various quinone derivatives. The term anthraquinone however refers to the isomer, 9,10-anthraquinone (IUPAC: 9,10-dioxoanthracene) wherein the keto groups are located on the central ring. It is a building block of many dyes and is used in bleaching pulp for papermaking. It is a yellow, highly crystalline solid, poorly soluble in water but soluble in hot organic solvents. It is almost completely insoluble in ethanol near room temperature but 2.25 g will dissolve in 100 g of boiling ethanol. It is found in nature as the rare mineral hoelite.

Anthraquinone sample crop.jpg
Preferred IUPAC name
Other names
  • Anthraquinone
  • 9,10-Anthracenedione
  • Anthradione
  • 9,10-Anthrachinon
  • Anthracene-9,10-quinone
  • 9,10-Dihydro-9,10-dioxoanthracene
  • Hoelite
  • Morkit
  • Corbit
3D model (JSmol)
ECHA InfoCard 100.001.408 Edit this at Wikidata
RTECS number
  • CB4725000
UN number 3143
  • InChI=1S/C14H8O2/c15-13-9-5-1-2-6-10(9)14(16)12-8-4-3-7-11(12)13/h1-8H
  • O=C1c2ccccc2C(=O)c3ccccc13
Molar mass 208.216 g·mol−1
Appearance Yellow solid
Density 1.438 g/cm3[1]
Melting point 284.8 °C (544.6 °F; 558.0 K)[1]
Boiling point 377 °C (711 °F; 650 K)[1]
Occupational safety and health (OHS/OSH):
Main hazards
possible carcinogen
GHS labelling:
GHS08: Health hazard
P201, P202, P281, P308+P313, P405, P501
Flash point 185 °C (365 °F; 458 K)
Related compounds
Related compounds
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
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There are several current industrial methods to produce 9,10-anthraquinone:

  1. The oxidation of anthracene. Chromium(VI) is the typical oxidant.
  2. The Friedel-Crafts reaction of benzene and phthalic anhydride in presence of AlCl3. o-Benzoylbenzoic acid is an intermediate. This reaction is useful for producing substituted anthraquinones.
  3. The Diels-Alder reaction of naphthoquinone and butadiene followed by oxidative dehydrogenation.
  4. The acid-catalyzed dimerization of styrene to give a 1,3-diphenylbutene, which then can be transformed to the anthraquinone.[3] This process was pioneered by BASF.

It also arises via the Rickert-Alder reaction, a retro-Diels-Alder reaction.


Hydrogenation gives dihydroanthraquinone (anthrahydroquinone). Reduction with copper gives anthrone.[4] Sulfonation with sulfuric acid gives anthroquinone-1-sulfonic acid,[5] which reacts with sodium chlorate to give 1-chloroanthaquinone.[6]


Digester additive in papermakingEdit

9,10-Anthraquinone is used as a digester additive in production of paper pulp by alkaline processes, like the kraft, the alkaline sulfite or the Soda-AQ processes. The anthraquinone is a redox catalyst. The reaction mechanism may involve single electron transfer (SET).[7] The anthraquinone oxidizes the reducing end of polysaccharides in the pulp, i.e., cellulose and hemicellulose, and thereby protecting it from alkaline degradation (peeling). The anthraquinone is reduced to 9,10-dihydroxyanthracene which then can react with lignin. The lignin is degraded and becomes more watersoluble and thereby more easy to wash away from the pulp, while the anthraquinone is regenerated. This process gives an increase in yield of pulp, typically 1–3% and a reduction in kappa number.[8]

Use in flow batteriesEdit

9,10-Anthraquinone is used as an electrolyte in flow battery which can provide long term electrical storage.

Niche usesEdit

9,10-anthraquinone is used as a bird repellant on seeds, and as a gas generator in satellite balloons.[9] It has also been mixed with lanolin and used as a wool spray to protect sheep flocks against kea attacks in New Zealand.[10]

Other isomersEdit

Several other isomers of anthraquinone are possible, including the 1,2-, 1,4-, and 2,6-anthraquinones. They are of comparatively minor importance. The term is also used in the more general sense of any compound that can be viewed as an anthraquinone with some hydrogen atoms replaced by other atoms or functional groups. These derivatives include substances that are technically useful or play important roles in living beings.

Recently, a class of anthraquinone derivates were shown to have self-healing properties when doped in PMMA matrix.[11]


Anthraquinone has no recorded LD50, probably because it is so insoluble in water.

In terms of metabolism of substituted anthraquinones, the enzyme encoded by the gene UGT1A8 has glucuronidase activity with many substrates including anthraquinones.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Haynes, William M., ed. (2016). CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (97th ed.). CRC Press. p. 3.28. ISBN 9781498754293.
  2. ^ International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (2014). Nomenclature of Organic Chemistry: IUPAC Recommendations and Preferred Names 2013. The Royal Society of Chemistry. p. 724. doi:10.1039/9781849733069. ISBN 978-0-85404-182-4.
  3. ^ Vogel, A. "Anthraquinone". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. doi:10.1002/14356007.a02_347.
  4. ^ Macleod, L. C.; Allen, C. F. H. (1934). "Benzanthrone". Organic Syntheses. 14: 4. doi:10.15227/orgsyn.014.0004.
  5. ^ Scott, W. J.; Allen, C. F. H. (1938). "Potassium Anthraquinone-α-Sulfonate". Organic Syntheses. 18: 72. doi:10.15227/orgsyn.018.0072.
  6. ^ Scott, W. J.; Allen, C. F. H. (1938). "α-Chloroanthraquinone". Organic Syntheses. 18: 15. doi:10.15227/orgsyn.018.0015.
  7. ^ Samp, J. C. (2008). A comprehensive mechanism for anthraquinone mass transfer in alkaline pulping (Thesis). Georgia Institute of Technology. p. 30. hdl:1853/24767.
  8. ^ Sturgeoff, L. G.; Pitl, Y. (1997) [1993]. "Low Kappa Pulping without Capital Investment". In Goyal, G. C. (ed.). Anthraquinone Pulping. TAPPI Press. pp. 3–9. ISBN 0-89852-340-0.
  9. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
  10. ^ Dudding, Adam (29 July 2012). "How to solve a problem like a kea". Sunday Star Times. New Zealand. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  11. ^ Ramini, Shiva K.; Kuzyk, Mark G. (2012-08-07). "A self healing model based on polymer-mediated chromophore correlations". The Journal of Chemical Physics. 137 (5): 054705. arXiv:1205.0481. Bibcode:2012JChPh.137e4705R. doi:10.1063/1.4739295. ISSN 0021-9606. PMID 22894369. S2CID 5512565.
  12. ^ Ritter, J. K.; Chen, F.; Sheen, Y. Y.; Tran, H. M.; Kimura, S.; Yeatman, M. T.; Owens, I. S. (1992). "A Novel Complex Locus UGT1 Encodes Human Bilirubin, Phenol, and other UDP-Glucuronosyltransferase Isozymes with Identical Carboxyl Termini" (PDF). Journal of Biological Chemistry. 267 (5): 3257–3261. doi:10.1016/S0021-9258(19)50724-4. PMID 1339448.

External linksEdit